Women or Hermaphrodites
half men-half women or hermaphrodites, who I was associated
with, none were real. They all were female impersonators. The
first one I encountered was on Dailey Brothers Circus. Francis
Doran, whose stage name was "The Original Maxine". When I
acquired my own show, the first one to join was Frankie, whose
mother Ivy always traveled with him.
A dynamic speaker who butchered the English language, Frankie
was a powerful attraction, and a money getter. In spite of that,
they seldom had money because Frankie would trade for a new
house trailer three or four times a year. Deep sea fishing was
his hobby. They wintered at Aransas Pass, Texas in order to
indulge his hobby.
When Ivy became ill and could no longer travel, they opened a
sporting goods store at Aransas Pass. Frankie became so
despondent when his mother died, that he attempted suicide.
His priest advised him to go back on the road. He came with us
as a front talker (Barker), but was unhappy not being a
Explaining that he no longer wanted to work in drag, he asked me
to teach him to swallow swords. Even though I cannot and never
had a desire to swallow swords, I know how it is done, yes, they
really swallow the swords, it is no trick.
It is an uncomfortable practice, over a long period of time to
learn. The year before, a sword swallower intent on impressing
some girls in the audience at Honolulu, took an unnecessary risk
swallowing a lit neon tube which broke in his throat, causing
With this fresh on my mind I agreed to teach Frankie on
condition he would never swallow neon. Some years later, while
appearing with Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey, with a
different management, at the Astro Hall in Houston, Frankie
swallowed neon. It exploded within him. He recovered enough to
return to his act after a few months, but was never well again.
A steady decline brought death in a couple of years.
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